Why you're going soft during sex

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Getting to go all the way never feels like the big win it really is if you’re coming to a stop without meaning to. Wondering how long should an erection last? You’re not alone –it’s a question posed by millions of men, and the women concerned about them, every day.

Of course, feeling as though you’re just one of countless men experiencing challenges staying hard is by no means any easier than feeling as if you’re the only man on Earth with any issues – as one is often made to feel.

It’s a debilitating and difficult issue to face, no matter your age, background or level of sexual activity. How long can the average man stay erect anyway? Are the expectations on you unfair? Should you have any expectations at all?

Relax. As you’ll learn through this article, understanding the root of why you’re going soft during sex is a huge step towards remedying the issue. Let’s explore what’s causing your frustrations with the guy downstairs – as well as your options.

There’s no good time to go soft during sex

Outside of sitcoms in which our hero gets a lucky break from a rendevous he’d live to regret, there’s pretty much no time in a man’s life in which his response to going soft during sex is “Oh, thank goodness!”

The frustrating part about this situation is that men are told, all over the media, not only how long an erection should last, ideally speaking – but also conflicting stories about how long the average man can stay erect altogether.

There’s no hard and fast answer that covers every man alive here. Factors like your age, level of activity, daily health and diet, and your overall state of mind can all have a big impact on your performance.

If you factor in medical papers exploring the phenomenon of erections during sleep – the ones that lead to that infamous morning wood – it’d be easy to conclude how long erections should last as clocking in at an average half an hour.

The reality is different though – because the kind of erection you have during sex is different to the one that gives you morning wood.

What kinds of erections do men get?

Getting hard isn’t as straightforward as it often looks – and often not under any man’s control. In fact, being able to create, sustain or get rid of an erection at will would solve a huge amount of men’s problems.

In reality though, physical and psychological factors are both responsible for erections. Understanding this can help not only understand where your erections come from, but also understanding how long can the average man stay erect when experiencing them.

According to studies, male erections include nocturnal erections, which happen during sleep and cause morning wood, but also psychogenic erections and reflexive erections.

A reflexive erection is when you get hard without any sexual thought or action – the kind you often see happening as teens turn into men and their bodies begin testing the mechanics of their new capabilities.

Psychogenic erections are the ones most commonly associated with direct sexual thought, stimulation and act. When you’re exploring how long can the average man stay erect in this sense, it’s all about making sure psychogenic erections stay with you during intercourse.

What makes an erection go away during sex?

A man’s erection is like a direct showcase of his physical and mental health. It’s what can make erectile dysfunction such a massive worry.

Ironically, that sense of worry – performance anxiety – is a big reason why men go soft during sex. Good sexual performance is important for both partners to enjoy the act – yet if the man’s mind is preoccupied wondering how long should an erection last to be considered ‘good’, his mind might become so out of the game that he loses his erection.

Is it all in the mind?

That’s only the most direct psychological factor into going soft during sex. It could be that a man is so stressed or anxious about other areas in his life that it ends up having much the same effect – and what’s confusing is that these stressors might not be in the conscious mind at all.

It’s also easy to get caught up in ‘checking in’ on your erection during sex, rather than enjoying the sensations it’s creating. Almost ironically, when it’s working at its best, it’s like you barely notice it – so your brain tries harder to ‘find’ it among all the sensations it’s getting. In the end, you’re focusing on your penis so much that you almost accidentally will it into giving up the ghost.

Physical factors affecting your erection

Stress is as much a physical ailment as it is a mental one, and that can have a huge impact on how long should an erection last. That’s because stress affects the circulation, which itself is a vital element of how the penis can physically fill up with the blood it needs to become – and stay – erect.

However, circulation is affected by many other factors too. Besides stress, a man’s diet, level of exercise and weight can all affect details like cholesterol and cortisol in the bloodstream. These are factors that constrict veins and affect circulation, and they don’t just give you difficulty staying hard either – they can lead to serious heart and general health complications down the line.

Solving going soft during sex

The facts aren’t easy to stare down, but you’ve now got some ideas of where to focus your questions – as well as how long can the average man stay erect.

Erectile dysfunction can affect any man of any age group – millions of men focus on the same issues you’re facing every year. At the grassroots level, overcoming it means focusing on your physical and mental health.

Improvements that you can make to your diet, cutting out fats and sugars, can work wonders here. Consider holding back more on caffeine as well – it’s a huge booster of cortisol, a stress hormone that can affect your member. Alcohol affects it even more.

Exercise helps keep your circulatory system strong, which in turn can boost the stamina and receptiveness of your penis in the buildup to, and fulfilment of, a healthy sex life. Feeling more energetic overall can help you feel more confident and capable – a real boost to staying firm when you need it.

Need results faster? Totally understandable – and totally in your reach. Speak to the professionals on solving your erectile dysfunction, and discover whether medication, lifestyle changes or a powerful combination of the two are your answer to going the distance in the bedroom.

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This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical or other professional advice. Your specific circumstances should be discussed with a healthcare provider. All statements of opinion represent the writers' judgement at the time of publication and are subject to change. Phoenix and its affiliates provide no express or implied endorsements of third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products, or services.

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